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Occupy the Board Room!

If only they would do what they were told

Why Charlie Pierce continues to be my hero:

To call Rep. Eric Cantor a stooge at this point is to insult all three Howard brothers, and the late Mr. Fine, as well.

Ever since the spittle-drenched results of the 2010 midterms swept him into being the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Cantor has demonstrated a remarkable ability to combine complete ignorance of practically every major issue with the unctuous personality of a third-string maitre d’ at a fourth-string steakhouse. A couple of weeks ago, confronting the various Scribes and Sadducees that make up the “Values” wing of his party, Cantor was calling the Occupy Wall Street protesters a “mob,” and warning the timorous and pharisaical suckers that the tumbrels would be arriving on their streets any day now. Lo and behold, the country seems now to disagree with him, and, on Fox News Sunday, Cantor announced his earthshaking discovery that the United States has a problem with income inequality, and that his Republican party is poised to do something about that. Of course, every single proposal to emerge from his caucus would work to use the tax code to cement that inequality from now until Eric Cantor VIII is flunking economics somewhere.

True, Cantor’s argument is that the Republican plan would allow all the poor people in America to rise to become the owners of their own hedge funds, and is utterly insincere, where it is not complete bullshit. But the fact that the words “income disparity” were spoken by a member of the congressional Republican leadership, in public and without his tongue turning to fire, is proof that the elite pundits are right. The OWS crowd never will affect the country’s politics until it develops a “coherent public message.” Pity.

Just in case

You’re tempted to support Mitt Romney under the illusion that he’s a “moderate” Republican, read this.

Private vouchers

Good editorial about why no one should support Gov. Tom Corbett’s voicher proposal.

Happy anniversary, Occupy!

Today is the one-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and you know how they’re celebrating? By crowd- sourcing the purchase of sheet cakes from a Queens bakery. (I’m sure they’re being swamped, but if you want to join the celebration, you can contribute $10 (plus tax) or more toward several full-size sheet cakes (feeds 100+, costs $190): 718-417-5700, Catania’s Bakery. Santina is ready to take your orders.)

Since I’ve yet to meet a person in real life who disapproves of OWS, this poll doesn’t surprise me. But I’ll bet it infuriates a lot of politicians!

By a 67 – 23 percent margin, New York City voters agree with the views of the Wall Street protesters and say 87 – 10 percent that it is “okay that they are protesting,” according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Agreeing with the protesters views are Democrats 81 – 11 percent and independent voters 58 – 30 percent, while Republicans disagree 58 – 35 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Even Republicans, however, agree 73 – 23 percent with the protesters right to be there.

New York City voters say 72 – 24 percent, including 52 – 41 percent among Republicans, that if the protesters obey the law, they can stay as long as they wish.

A total of 72 percent of voters say they understand the protesters’ views “very well” or “fairly well,” with 17 percent who say “not too well” and 10 percent who say “not well at all.”

Voters split 46 – 45 percent in their approval of the way police are handling the Wall Street protest, but approve 61 – 33 percent of how the police are doing their job overall.

“It’s a free country. Let them keep on protesting as long as they obey the law, New Yorkers say overwhelmingly,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Critics complain that no one can figure out what the protesters are protesting. But seven out of 10 New Yorkers say they understand and most agree with the anti-Wall Street views of the protesters.

“For a while, the critics focused on the cops’ use of pepper spray at the protests. Voters are divided on how police are handling the protesters, but they say almost 2-to-1 that police are doing a good job overall.”

Asked who is to blame for the current state of the nation’s economy;
37 percent of New York City voters blame the administration of former President George W. Bush;
21 percent blame Wall Street and financial institutions;
18 percent blame Congress;
11 percent blame President Barack Obama.
New York City voters support 61 – 28 percent an extension of the state’s so-called ‘Millionaire’s Tax.’ Even Republicans support the extension 55 – 38 percent.

Voters also support 73 – 19 percent, including 48 – 40 percent among Republicans, tougher government regulation of banks and Wall Street firms.

“New Yorkers, even Republicans, back the Wall Street protesters on at least two things they’re talking about, a get-tough attitude toward banks and Wall Street and continuation of the state’s ‘Millionaire’s Tax,'” Carroll said.

Rootstrikers

New org devoted to getting corporate money out of politics. Check it out!

‘There is no honor in this’

I’d read about this veteran confronting the NYPD cops, but I didn’t know there was a video:

License to kill in Killadelphia

We have people shot and killed here in Philadelphia so often, residents refer to the city as “Killadelphia.” But every time city officials try to make it even a little bit harder for anti-social types to carry a gun, conservative legislators slap it down. In this case, it’s not just Pennsylvania legislators — it’s the state of Florida, who will give a license to carry to just about anyone with a pulse. The backward-thinking wingnuts of our state house figured it would be a good way to curry favor with the cash-strewing NRA if we simply signed a reciprocal agreement with Florida, thus sandbagging the intent of Philadelphia legislators to control gun crime. Freedom!

Florida permits are attractive because the chances of being approved there are far higher than in Philadelphia.

Last year, for example, 15 percent of Philadelphia’s permit applications were denied. (Nearly 4,400 permits were approved in the city during the same period.)

Florida denied 1 percent.

Philadelphia police said that when they cannot quickly verify an out-of-state license, their commanders have told them to take the permits and guns from the suspects.

That has spurred lawsuits, some of which have been settled for cash awards, and problems of community relations.

Montrell Bolden said he was suing. He said he got his Florida permit after being acquitted of drug charges in 2007.

He says police subsequently detained him in 2009 and confiscated his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson, which he said was worth $800, and never returned it. He said the Florida permit was valid at the time.

Bolden currently is facing new drug-dealing charges but said that should have had no bearing on his suit.

The person who got the biggest settlement is also in part responsible for Philadelphia’s dramatic increase in Florida permits.

Richard Oliver, who runs the Parapet Group security firm, received a $20,000 arbitration award after his 2009 arrest on charges that he was carrying a concealed firearm without a license – a felony. The case was quickly dismissed, but the record of the arrest still has not been expunged.

A memo on the arbitration award, written by the city attorney, said police refused Oliver’s “request for medical treatment and for physician-prescribed medication which he takes for high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and edema.”

Oliver said in an interview that he showed police not just his Florida gun permit but also valid permits from New Hampshire and Utah. Police also rejected them, he said.

He had the permits because part of his business has been training people to get out-of-state permits.

Oliver estimated that he had helped 100 to 200 people get Florida licenses during the last five years.

“In Philadelphia, you can’t get a permit to carry if you owe parking tickets,” he said. “You owe the city, you cannot get a permit to carry.”

Ronald Robinson agrees. He also was arrested by Philadelphia police for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a case that was subsequently dismissed.

“It’s protection. It’s a right,” Robinson said of his license to carry. “I didn’t go though loopholes.”

He said Philadelphia police denied his application for a concealed-weapons permit because of his past conviction for resisting arrest.

Robinson had pleaded guilty to the charge in 1999 in Delaware County and was put on probation for two years.

Police had contended that he was “the type of person who would hurt someone” when they denied his permit, he said.

So, Robinson said, he simply sent an application to Florida, and had no trouble getting his permit there.

Another Florida permit-holder in Philadelphia, Shykeem Leslie, was viewed by police as a midlevel drug dealer, constantly hustling dope and involved in violent crimes.

Before Leslie got his Florida license in January 2009, he had been arrested in three separate felony cases, involving charges of robbery, drug dealing, and aggravated assault. All those cases were dismissed.

In December 2009, Leslie was arrested twice on drug charges in North Philadelphia.

During one of the arrests, police discovered a secret compartment in the console of his car, between the front seats. Hidden there was $3,650 in cash and 100 packets of drugs.

Police also seized his Florida gun permit, for the second time.

Leslie, 24, never had to go to trial.

In the predawn hours of Aug. 18, 2010, he was felled by a hail of gunfire, shot in the chest, shoulder, and arm in the 3200 block of North 27th Street.

He was pronounced dead at Temple University Hospital.

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

A national convention?

Discuss.

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